Phil Gould has hammered talk of teen prodigy Reece Walsh being hauled into Queensland’s camp for State of Origin II, imploring selectors to instead weigh up picking more experienced cattle.
Walsh has made a sensational start to his NRL career with the Warriors, prompting former Maroons captain Wally Lewis to throw his name up as a bolter ahead of the Origin opener, declaring: “If you’re good enough, you are old enough.”
Lewis’ call was followed by former champion Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk also endorsing Walsh in the wake of the Maroons’ 50-6 thrashing at the hands of the Blues in the series-opener.
“I don’t think you should ever put a ceiling or a limit on what kids can do in any arena,” Cronk told Fox League.
But Gould says there’s no need for the Maroons to pin their hopes on an 18-year-old kid with just six NRL games beside his name, as Queensland look to keep the series alive at Suncorp Stadium on June 27.
“Reece Walsh is an outstanding young kid, he’s 18 years of age, he’s had six first-grade games, he didn’t play at all last year because of COVID. And quite honestly, Queensland’s problem isn’t to be solved by an 18-year-old kid,” Gould said on Nine’s 100% Footy.
“There’s plenty of other people they can find to pull on an Origin jersey for them – and they have done this regularly … Go back into your Queensland Cup and find some players if you think it’s so good.
“You’ve got plenty of other players playing in NRL teams, at the Cowboys and Broncos, who can form the bridge. You’ve got Josh McGuire and Ben Hunt … and all these fellas. Throw them in there. Get all that in there instead of looking at 18-year-old kids to come and solve your problems. I find that ridiculous.”
Former Blues skipper Paul Gallen agreed with Gould and said that instead of chasing X-factor the Maroons must address their lack of passion in Origin I.
Gallen threw up two Sharks, centre Will Chambers and winger Ronaldo Mulitalo, as two men who’d add a wealth of passion to the Queensland camp.
Chambers collected 13 Maroons caps between 2014 and 2019 and has shot back into Queensland contention since reviving his NRL career with Cronulla this season, while Mulitalo is gunning for his Origin debut.
“You know what I thought Queensland lacked the other day? And it’s hard for me to say. I thought they lacked passion – I really did. At 50 points down I thought they lacked anyone trying to change the game at all,” Gallen told 100% Footy.
“Chambers is the type of player who will bring passion. The other guy at the Sharks who will bring passion is Ronaldo Mulitalo. So there’s two guys there that are a combination on that edge that’d work for them without a doubt.”
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